By Joan & Tomas Heartfield, Ph.D.

More and more people want to deeply understand the right use of sexuality. Most of us have been unconscious in the ways we have been sexual. It may be the least understood aspect of our humanity. If animals have sexuality and humans have it, is it the same? What is the difference? More specifically what CAN the difference be? We see sexuality as a force that connects us deeply to ourselves and the mystery of our existence.

Joseph Campbell the great anthropologist said it this way: “Most people think that the thing we are looking for in life is meaning”. He added. ” I don’t think that’s it at all. I think that most people are looking for an experience which connects them to the ecstasy of what it could feel like to be totally alive. To know the unburdened state of total aliveness is the pinnacle of the human potential.” Campbell explored all of the worlds religions with an unequalled depth of perception and synthesis. He was able to distill that which we know as the core of the human condition. Sacred Sexuality or Tantra can fulfill this need if practiced consciously and learned from a source with knowledge, integrity, and skill. Indeed in its highest expression. Tantra is the Yoga of everything.

The theme for this weeks column is sexuality. We get many questions about sexuality and indeed many of them come from our counseling work with couples. It’s a bit long but we have decided to keep the response intact rather than two parts. So this weeks column is longer than usual.

There are so many positions of Love:
Each curve on a branch,
The thousand different ways your eyes can embrace us,
The infinite shapes your Mind can draw,
The spring orchestra of scents,
The currents of light combusting like passionate lips,
The revolution of Existence’s skirt whose folds contain other worlds,
Your every sigh that falls against His inconceivable Omnipresent Body.
Hafiz

What is Tantra?

Q. Jay Lenow was talking about Stings four hour orgasms the other night and he attributed it to Tantra. Jay had a lot of fun with it and now it seems Tantric Sex is a new catch phrase to describe great sex. What is it exactly and how do I find it? My husband says let’s try it. I’m hesitant. It seems like a hype to me. We have great sex. Is it all it is cracked up to be? The Yoga of sex? I’m still confused about it all. I love your responses to relationship stuff. Your opinion is greatly appreciated. J.S. Kihei

A. True Shivaic Tantra is part of an ancient Spiritual practice, which elevated sexuality to a sublime meditative state. The sexual aspect was only part of a bigger experience. Some Sources date Indian Tantric origins up to 3000 or more years ago. It generally is not practiced openly and has been underground for hundreds of years. It was Goddess based and the feminine reigned supreme. Some scholars and spiritual teachers express resentment at the adulteration which has occurred in the West’s interpretation of a complex spiritual practice our culture cannot fully understand. However, Western modes of Tantra have emerged that help us refocus our sexuality as a way to connect to the Divine in each other and ourselves. As a society we are still repressed and freeing ourselves from Puritan influences that made sex dirty, secretive and disempowering to women. In this regard, Tantra is a mode of liberation and release from this guilt. It integrates our sexuality into a matrix of worshipful prayer like awareness. It can be a virtual conduit to the Divine, which transports the participants into a state of ecstatic bliss. A true practitioner is reverent of every touch and glance as a divine gift.

Tantra is rapidly becoming a catch phrase for an elevated sexual experience. It is now mainstream and getting more so. Though many “gradients” of quality seem to exist, any activity that brings more reverence and respect to the world is good. Indeed, seeing our sexuality as sacred is the best antidote we know for things like pornography, perversion and sexual abuse. Supporting a spiritual awareness which makes us whole and integrated can be a form of awakening. There are a handful of men and women who have been trained in “sexual healing”, a very real experience needed by people who have been damaged in this regard. Some Tantric practitioners integrate this activity. The movie Bliss touched on this.

Tantric practitioners are everything from “the real deal” to sexual therapists cashing in on the term. Nonetheless, there is generally compassion and caring which can be refreshingly healing for those who are open to exploration. We have within us aspects and powers undiscovered in our de-sensitized world of indifference to the sacred. Any practice which can transform us into more loving, caring and joyous humans is worthwhile, and bringing a prayerful attitude into the bedroom can alleviate most sexual problems.

Kalu Rimpoche, the Dalai Lama’s teacher says there are three paths to enlightenment. The fastest is sacred sexuality or Tantra. The second fastest is music. The slowest but the surest is meditation. Because of all the unclarity and wounding associated with our sexuality, the danger of misuse of our sexual assets can be perceived as dangerous. When the higher aspects are in control of our sexuality, movement into the heavenly realms is assured.